This is a delicious French country-style pâté that's very easy to make, but requires a bit of patience.

Heat the oven to 350F.

In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and cream and set aside. Process the pork fat until finely minced. Transfer to a large bowl. Process the chicken livers until fine and add to the pork fat.

Whisk together the eggs, onion and garlic. Add the seasonings, then add the Cognac and Calvados.

To the porkfat mixture, add the ground pork and veal. Blend by hand until well-combined. Mix in the bread crumbs and cream. Add the egg mixture, then add the pistachios.

Line two 9"x5"x3" loaf pans with the sliced bacon, leaving some overhang on the sides and reserving 4 strips for the top. Fill the pans with the meat mixture, pressing evenly into the corners. Place bay leaves atop and enclose with the bacon. Cover the pans with a double layer of foil and set the pans into a larger roasting pan for a bain-marie with 1 to 1-1/2" warm water.

Bake for 1-3/4 hours, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the pans from the water and peel off the foil to cool completely. It is best at this point to cover them with plastic wrap, when cool enough, and put one atop the other with another weight atop (a foil-covered brick works nicely), to refrigerate for one week. The weights can be removed after two days.

To serve, remove the bay leaves and, if desired, leave the bacon but scrape off the surrounding fat. Serve slightly chilled.

Yield: 16 first-course servings.

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Chuck Taggart (e-mail chuck)